Photo Contest Insider Blog


The 10 biggest Photography Trends for 2017

January 18, 2017

As we move into 2017, there are a lot of new photography trends gathering pace. These have been seen at the tail end of 2016 on a smaller scale and are now entering the mainstream, so get ready to adjust your style accordingly. This year is all about a natural, candid, and glamourous image, even if that sounds like a contradiction in terms. Here’s how the biggest trends are adding up to create it.

  1. Stop posing

The first big trend is that posing is out. Models should now be directed to take more natural positions, and even to incorporate movement into their actions. Forget about the edgy, angular poses that do wonderful tricks for leg length and waist size, and get real. Shots should look candid even when they aren’t. Wedding photos? Enjoying the moment rather than lining up for the camera. Advertising? Just chilling out by the pool on a normal day. Fashion? Going to a party, walking down the street, never adopting a pose on purpose.

  1. Use your flash

Flash is going to be very big this year. The harsh lighting combined with deep shadows is in, thanks to a bit of a retro trend which harkens back to late night parties in the 90s with your disposable camera. Getting the balance right on this one is hard: you don’t want to have blown-out highlights, but it needs to create the right feel. The best way to achieve it is of course to use an actual flash-gun, but study up on how to use it to the best effect.

  1. Leave the studio

Studio shots feel out of touch alongside the unposed and natural party vibe. Leave the white backdrop rolls in storage and head outside. This year is all about the most natural of locations – shoot your models where they would normally be when using the product or enjoying the lifestyle you want to promote. Cafes and restaurants, parks and city centres, and even their real homes (or yours) are all fair game.

  1. Search the attic

You might want to go digging around for things you thought were long forgotten: your film and Polaroid camera. Both mediums are making a big comeback at the moment, riding the wave of retro fascination which has also included videotapes and cassettes. It’s still expensive to shoot either of them these days, but it could earn you an extra bit of respect from your clients and a few more bookings.

  1. Get some ink

Tattoos are suddenly becoming very mainstream in photography, even in commercial spheres. As more and more people get them, the trend is about using real and unique people for your subjects. If a brand can have a female model with a sleeve design on their adverts, she feels more like a real person than a perfect airbrushed model. Find models with tattoos and get shooting.

  1. Go monochrome

Black and white is making a serious comeback this year. Not just for the odd shot that needs a bit of drama added to it, and not just for weddings either. We’re talking full monochrome shoots and advertising campaigns. Think black and white image with brightly coloured text and logo elements making a big impact.

  1. Burst with colour

Landscapes in particular this year are going to be embracing the colour overlay trend. Think neon hues layered over a beautiful, unsaturated mountain scene or beach. Create something unusual. The colours are on trend in design and advertising, and more and more portrait photographers are starting to include landscapes in their social feeds to create an aspirational feel.

  1. Try bold patterns

Another big trend is going to be the use of bold patterns, a direct response to the minimalism of recent years. Wallpaper can be bright and clash with clothing patterns, or you can fill the frame with scattered light coming through a patterned filter. Think ferns and other plants if you want to include a natural pattern which adds depth to the image.

  1. Meet some horses

This is a bit of a weird one, but apparently brands are very much into horses for their 2017 campaigns. What does this mean? It means you are going to need to find out where your local stables is and ask about hiring a horse for the day. Horses represent strength and grace, something that has been a big trend in the “strong is the new skinny” era. The message is even stronger when paired with a human model, so be sure to look out for opportunities.

  1. Embrace opposites

Finally, you are going to be seeing the rise of two opposing forces in photography this year: tech and analogue. We’ve already covered the resurgence of film, but this trend is more about what you see in the photograph than how you take it. People using phones, tablets, laptops, and wearables are big news in stock photography, as articles and websites need illustrations of these items in use. On the other side, the tilt towards analogue means photographing people with books, records and record players, handwritten notes, and even decorations like hand embroidery.

It looks like 2017 is going to be a year of more authentic images. They will show us as we are as well as how we aspire to be – not in the glossy magazine sense, but in the sense of in-the-moment captures for an Instagram feed.


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